In a press release dated 06.07.2022, the German Federal Government published the decision of a first “Migration Package”. With this, the German government is pursuing the goal of bringing skilled workers from third countries and their families to Germany more quickly and effectively, as well as relieving well-integrated accepted persons in Germany of the uncertainties of “chain tolerations”. This way, the above-mentioned target groups will be allowed to obtain a permanent right to stay (so-called “right of opportunity to stay”).

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our immigration lawyers advise private and business clients in all aspects of German migration and residence law. Our contact details are provided below if you require specific legal assistance on any of the matters raised in this article.

If you have a particular issue or legal question concerning German immigration law, you can contact our law office anytime. Our German immigration lawyers can be reached by phone and email and provide video conferencing options. For more legal information, please visit our Immigration Information Germany Centre.

On 2 December 2022, the German Bundestag passed a draft bill by the federal government to introduce a right of residence with opportunities. This decision will be regulated in future in § 104c German Residence Act. It is intended to give long-time “tolerated” persons who have already resided in Germany for at least 5 years without interruption before the cut-off date of 31.10.2022 the chance to obtain a permanent right of residence.

The aim of the Right of Opportunity to Stay is also to end “chain tolerations”, which are burdensome for those affected and the authorities. The term “chain toleration” describes the process when a person is certified that they will not be deported for the time being. The “toleration” status is thereby extended, but no right of residence is created.

The term “tolerated” refers to foreigners who are neither entitled to asylum nor refugees but are protected by a ban on deportation. With the right of opportunity to stay, they are granted an 18-month residence permit and thus have the chance to fulfil the outstanding requirements for a right to remain.

The requirements for a residence permit are laid down in §§ 25a and 25b German Residency Act. These include, for example, sufficient oral German language skills at an A2 level, independent means of subsistence, proof of identity and commitment to the free democratic basic order of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Excluded from this are persons who have been convicted of criminal offences and persons who have attempted to prevent their deportation by deceiving the authorities regarding their identity or intentionally providing false information.

The right of opportunity to stay could consequently offer a perspective for many “tolerated persons” in Germany. At the end of 2021, the number of “tolerated persons” in Germany was 242,029. Of them, 136,605 had been residing in the country for more than five years.

It should be noted that the right of residence is a one-time special regulation. If the open requirements are not fulfilled within 18 months, the persons concerned revert to “tolerated persons” status.

However, the right of opportunity to stay must be distinguished from the planned “Opportunity Card”.

The “Opportunity Card” is intended to allow foreigners from non-EU countries the chance to look for employment in Germany. Germany will use a points system to assess the following criteria:

  • professional qualification,
  • German language skills,
  • previous work experience,
  • age,
  • and whether the person already has a connection to Germany (e.g. previous stays in Germany or family members living in Germany).

Further Regulations

In addition, Migration Package 1 aims at the following:

  • An adjustment of the right to stay for young people is envisaged. Well-integrated youths are to be given the possibility of “the right to remain” after only 3 years of residence in Germany. Long-term “tolerated persons” with minor children are to be granted the right to stay after 4 years if they can demonstrate notable integration achievements.
  • Regulations on the immigration of skilled workers in the Skilled Workers Immigration Act, which should only be valid for a limited period, should be lifted and become permanent.
  • Family reunification will be facilitated by eliminating the language requirement for family members.
  • Early access to integration and professional language courses for asylum seekers is to be offered, regardless of the date of entry or country of origin.
  • More consistent repatriation of criminals and dangerous persons by facilitating expulsion and ordering detention pending deportation is intended.

A second migration package should come in the autumn of 2022 and contain the abolition of employment bans and modernisation of immigration law. However, nothing has been published on such a package.

The government’s plans for simplified immigration are currently being additionally addressed through the planning of the “Opportunity Card”, the planned changes regarding German citizenship by residency, and changes to the Skilled Workers Immigration Act.

Contact us: Full-Service Law Firm Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte

If you have questions regarding the right to stay, family reunification or immigration possibilities, please do not hesitate to contact our team. Our immigration lawyers will be happy to advise you individually on your situation and your legal options.